Discouragement and Preaching
I was in a room alone with Haddon Robinson, author of Biblical Preaching, and another examiner. He and a colleague had read through my Doctor of Ministry thesis. Haddon is kind, but he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. I was concerned by what he’d find in my thesis that just didn’t measure up.
I don’t remember a lot of his comments from that day, but I remember one. My thesis was on God-centered preaching, which, I argued, is far better than the human-centered preaching that is so easy to do. At one point I argued that God-centered preaching is much less discouraging. “One of the reasons for discouragement in preaching may be that an anthropocentric [human-centered] approach is unsatisfying, whereas a theocentric [God-centered] approach brings us to the only source of eternal satisfaction and joy,” I wrote.
“I don’t agree with that,” Haddon said. He explained that discouragement is part of ministry, and that no kind of preaching would help a preacher avoid it.
I’m grateful for Haddon’s correction. I don’t get discouraged often, but when I do I remind myself that it’s part of ministry.
I changed the paragraph to one that met with Haddon’s approval:
Discouragement is part of the assignment of preaching, but a theocentric approach reminds us that our sufficiency is not found in ourselves. God, not the preacher, is the only source of eternal satisfaction and joy.